Playground Chatter: Rachel Peniche, Executive Director, Friends of Vista Hill

Welcome to Playground Chatter! Our new blog series, where we get to profile and chat with some of the best executives in town! Sure, we could ask about all their fancy business stuff but since we are fun monsters, we want to know how they spend their spare time!


Your Name: Rachel Peniche

Your nickname? Mouse (only to really close friends and family) – it is because I am a bit sneaky and I LOVE cheese!

What is your grown up job? Executive Director, Friends of Vista Hill / President, Plan It San Diego

How can we find you?


Pinterest: charmed

Tell us where you spent your childhood years. Is there one year you remember most? I grew up in San Diego and went to St. Vincent’s Catholic School. I broke my finger, my middle finger, in the third grade trying to play catch (football) with the boys. That pretty much sums up my athletic ability for most my life.

Favorite part of the playground to hang out in? Swings although the slides are a very close second.

Lunch pail, brown bag or did you buy lunch? Strawberry Shortcake lunch box for me. Although in elementary school I did “forget” my lunch frequently so my father who worked down the street would bring me lunch from Canora’s Sandwich shop on India Street (they had the best potato salad that came in a little paper cup). I loved the California Sandwich with sprouts and avocado. So sad that shop isn’t still around.

What would be your ideal recess today? Spaahhh! Can’t get enough steam rooms and massages. Any day in a bathrobe seems like recess to me.

Does your company encourage recess for their employees? I personally encourage recess. We have done a few fun things as a group: Ice Skating at the Hotel Del, Sound of Music Sing-a-long at the Birch Theatre and my personal favorite BOWLING!

If I deemed you Playground Monitor for the next 15 minutes, how would you rally your employees? What activity would everyone participate in? I would do a scavenger hunt. I love those. Great way for people to go outside their comfort zone and ask people for things.

What rules did you learn on the playground that you still utilize today? Take turns, be safe, play nice and fair and say you’re sorry when you accidentally do something wrong. Flash Tattoos

When does time disappear for you? Time always seems to fly when I am in the kitchen cooking.

What is one area of your life where you need more recess? I feel fortunate that I am able to work hard and play harder. I do think I need to delegate more and as Idina Menzel would croon – “Let it Go…” Sometimes I try too hard to be perfect and be everything to everyone which leaves me exhausted in the end and not able to enjoy recess at all.

What is your authentic intention (that thing that you really, really want to do or accomplish?) What are you doing to get there? I really can’t think of anything. Honestly, I have all I want and then some. I get the great pleasure of giving back to my family, community and friends almost every day of my life and I feel if I died tomorrow my legacy would the lives I have touched in personal and meaningful ways. I am truly blessed.

What can you do to design your life to better incorporate more recess? (Pinky Swear). I really want to set aside a couple of hours each week to doing something new and fun that is totally for me. I just started this year and so far so good – cheese 101 class, I am going to take a sailing class and maybe take up piano lessons or tennis. All just for fun.   Good witch